Rolling hills and death-defying slopes hinted with lush green grass and the multi-colored buildings. This sight cannot be captured in the United States, but only in the beautiful countryside of Italy, a place that I was fortunate enough to visit in an unexpected manner.
A few months previous, I was prepared to take a trip to Spain, but I received a heartbreaking memo; there wasn’t going to be a trip. However, I was offered an alternative; I could take a trip to Italy instead with another one of my teachers or get my money refunded. I decided on the foremost of the two.
Stepping off the plane after a nine hour flight and a day later, I was awestruck; I had never been to Europe before and it was so much different than my hometown of Jacksonville, Florida. It was a bit colder and no humidity. Florida is flatter than a pancake that was pressed out with a rolling pin, so seeing mountains was breathtaking and I was moved beyond words.
Our first stop was the quaint town of Assisi where we took the trek downhill towards St. Francis’s Basilica where the walls and ceilings were painted with the story of his life. The tour guide also led us downstairs in the bottom of the church where St. Francis’s body is entombed in a pillar of stone.
That night we stayed in a small hotel just outside of the town perched on the edge of the mountain. The dining room had a wall of windows so you could look down into the valley. The view was over exhilarating, but we were so exhausted from the long day and the lack of sleep from the plane ride we just turned in early after dinner.
The next two days we spent walking around the beautiful city of Florence. They consisted of finding a Burger King and having our first Italian cheeseburger, fries, and coke, walking the streets and shopping in the Piazza, lots of pizza, seeing David in addition to other statues and architecture, and eating a waffle topped with ice cream.
Then it was off to three days in Rome. We took a night tour around the city, and to see the city in the daylight is one thing, but to see it lit up in lights was absolutely dazzling. Our tour guide took us to the Trevi Fountain, one of the top most romantic destinations in the world, and we visited some Roman ruins, including the Coliseum. We were also taken to one of the many ways through the Catacombs underneath the city. However, my favorite part about being in Rome was visiting Vatican City, even though it’s not officially part of Rome. If anything it was a great religious experience for me.
After Rome, we headed to Pompeii to walk through the excavated ruins and then off the coast to the town of Sorrento. The next day we headed via boat to the beautiful little fishing island of Capri. We took a boat tour around the whole island and then walked around the upper part of it. Everything on the island was miniature in order to fit on the small land mass from the little trucks they drove around on to even the narrow streets.
Late that afternoon, we headed back to Rome to prepare for heading out the next day. Even though the trip was unexpected, it was by far the most memorable. If I could, I would do it all over again, and it has inspired me to venture out to more countries and learn different cultures.
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